Monday
September 22, 2014

Will You Be Ready?

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Will You Be Ready?

Be prepared. These tips from real estate professionals who have been through natural disasters will help you protect your family and your business.

Lindsey Lawver, an associate with Pro 100, REALTORS®, in Joplin had just gotten home from the hospital with her new baby girl on May 22, 2011. “We’re used to tornado sirens in this part of the world, but something felt different,” she says. She and her family fled to her husband’s parents’ house, which had a basement. They hunkered down just in time. Both her home and her in-laws’ home were destroyed. “It looked like a bomb had gone off. It was unbelievable,” she says.

Check out our feature story to hear more stories of how real estate professionals have weathered the recent storms in Missouri, Illinois, and New Jersey.

Although her office wasn’t damaged, Lawver was fortunate to have taken steps to protect her family and her business well in advance of the tornado. Here are tips from Lawver and others to help real estate professionals be prepared for any weather-related emergency.

  • If you don’t have a basement, install or identify a nearby in-ground storm shelter. When you hear sirens, take shelter immediately.
  • Register your storm shelter with your local fire department, so if you’re stuck under debris, rescue workers know to look for you.
  • Use a fireproof safe and keep it in a closet in your home or office. Label your safe with your name and phone number in case it is carried away by a storm. That will improve the odds of it being recovered.
  • Back up all of your important documents, both work and personal, in a cloud storage account. Keep hard copies in your safe, including financial records, insurance documents, passports, and irreplaceable keepsakes.
  • Establish a plan with family members to meet somewhere following a disaster if cell phones don’t work.
  • Recommend to home owners that they take an inventory of their personal belongings with photos and videos and save receipts. Dallas Hancock, with the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® in Illinois, recommends using Knowyourstuff.org, a resource from the Insurance Information Institute where you can document assets and belongings, which will make filing an insurance claim after a disaster or burglary a lot easier.
  • Cancel any credit cards that are lost in a storm, fire, or burglary as soon as possible.  Also contact utility companies and cable and Internet providers to cancel service.
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